Four children died of measles in Lahore on Saturday and 17 new cases were reported.
Two-year old Iman from Begum Kot, two-year old Subhan from Ravi Road, four-year old Malika from Mali Pura, and two-year old Eman from Baghbanpura died of the disease at Mayo Hospital.
Minister for Health Salima Hashmi said that negligence in routine immunisation coverage was the major cause of the spread of measles. She said that strict measures were being taken to plug the loopholes in immunisation coverage.
Hashmi was speaking with the media after inaugurating a computerised registration system at Government Shahdra Hospital. Health Secretary Arif Nadeem, Medical Superintendent Dr Abid Kareem and Project Director Dr Ijaz Ahmed Sheikh were present. Hashmi said that the Health Department was taking every possible step to control the measles menace. She said that children with measles were being treated free of charge at public hospitals. She said the government was planning to launch a mass anti-measles campaign throughout the province in the month of June at a cost of Rs3.5 billion.
Hashmi said she understood the concern of all mothers regarding the health of their children.
She said that great responsibility lay on the shoulders of the next elected government with regards to controlling the maternal mortality rate. She said it had to plan on provision of better healthcare facilities for women and children.
The minister said that malnutrition, poverty and non-availability of basic civic facilities directly affected the health of women and children.
Earlier, Hashmi inaugurated a computerised registration system for the patients at the hospital. She said that computerised token system would be introduced in other public hospitals as well.
She said that this system would end favoritism and every patient coming to the hospital would be able to consult a doctor without discrimination. Hashmi also visited various departments of the hospital. She also asked the women patients in OPD about the medical facilities being extended in the hospital.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2013.